Eh?Eh!'s Reviews > Soulless

Soulless by Gail Carriger
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Jul 04, 10

it was ok
bookshelves: rbrs, goodreaders-made-me, babble-added
Read in June, 2010

Rbrs #4

Remember in grade school, when the teacher would ask for a volunteer to give the first speech or present the first diorama or whatever? Public Speaking - that which is feared more than death. Comparisons were always inevitable. I learned to shoot that hand up like a game of "not-it," so that everyone would be compared to me but my stuff would gently fade in the mob memory. Also, to get it out of the way so then I could relax while everyone else sweated it and got ever more anxious. Soooo, I was slow with this book and there have been a bunch of excellent reviews written. Comparisons are inevitable. They're really good and you should read them. Especially THIS ONE (forgive me if I missed anyone). These reviews tear the book apart brilliantly.

Most of the discussions about the definition of "Romance" have been beyond my ability to participate, pulling in outside sources and critical thinking magnificence, but clear enough that I can nod and say "yeah!" all thuggishly with fist in the air. I'll try not to be a complete parrot here, as I try to place this book in my limited understanding of the Romance universe. Well, I can't even parrot very well because much of it whooshes over my head. I would consider this book to be Romance, but not the giggly-silly spooning and forking of PtP or barfbag secks of SO'M. The only real relations occurred at the very end after the couple was married. Well, in the carriage on the way to the nuptual bed. Because they couldn't wait. Anyway. The humping (so many ways to not say the word!) wasn't the point, not titillation (tit-lit?).

I think the point is to describe an adventure and relationship that the Romance reader can slip on, or project herself. I read a couple of the other reviews by serial Romance readers – which was quite the task, whew – and they went on (and on and on) about how the dude made her, the readers, feel. Sorry for the mixing of singular and plural, but the readers are mostly ladies and the ladies seemed to see themselves as Alexia. The man is 'devastatingly handsome'/dark/strong but the lady is described as 'not being a beauty' - she's tall, older (26, not old, but considered beyond the typical marriagable age), darker skinned, larger nosed, likes her food, bigger breasted, a boom-chicka-bow-wow bod. Most of her physical qualities are generally described so that a large chunk of the couch-potato population could do that thing where they see themselves in the story. The clothes are excruciatingly detailed, sometimes the furniture. It's like sitcom t.v. for the book world, where you don't have to think and it's all laid out for you. Which is all okay! Don't attack me, puppets and trolls. I thought this book was not-terrible and performs admirably in its chosen niche...which I think is mostly Romance of the milder variety despite its attempts to shmoosh together all sorts of categories. Essentially, it's a girl meeting and marrying a guy.

Each chapter is a contained scene, with all the action and dialogue occurring in one room per scene. The story wasn't really remarkable. There are vampires, werewolves, descriptions of how they fit into this world. The girl and guy don't like each other at first, but that's just because they're extremely attracted to each other and the dislike is an indicator of their future passion. Heh. The whole thing about the girl being soulless? Not well thought out or executed, more a convenient superpower for our superheroine. The clunky witticisms made me cringe, not because they were really bad, but they were slightly bad and there were so many of them...and I'm guilty of clunky "wit" so I can't put the author down for this. I cringe, as I do when I see/hear/feel one of my attempts at "wit" land with a thud.

There were some instances of clumsy writing that popped out like a stray "splay," since Ms. Carriger took great pains to write so properly and use Big Words:

She winced at the flavor, looked with narrowed eyes at her cup, and then reached for the creamer. I glare at crockery, too.

She widened her large brown eyes...and lowered her eyelashes beseechingly. Doesn't this sound like her eyelashes moved independently?

And my favorite: He...rolled so that she was beneath him.... Alexia's ivory taffeta gown was held together by a row of tiny mother-of-pearl buttons up the length of its back. ...the earl eventually discovered this fact and began undoing them with a rapidity the bespoke consummate skill in the art of undoing ladies' clothing. Well, hell! That sure is consummate skill, undoing back-buttons when her back is pressed to the ground! Okay, that last one is probably just me, a scene where the author decided to move the pace along by not describing every single movement...but dude-lady, you've been describing details on the near molecular level. Couldn't you describe Alexia lifting her back up so the earl could undo the row of tiny mother-of-pearl buttons up the length of the ivory taffeta gown? I was jostled from my...I mean, Alexia's, disrobing when you didn't tell me exactly every single movement.

I, uh, liked the flamboyant gay vampire and his harem of cooing men. There was also a scene of real beauty (to me) near the end, with the sunset.

One last non-story thingy – the pose on the cover image is only possible for the rare ~2% of the population who are supermodels; one of the RBRS ladies didn't find it impossible but I suspect she's got some supermodel in her. You need a loooooooong torso & neck. Hee, following the cover credits on the back, the photographed woman titles herself the Gothic Supermodel and you can purchase the costume.
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Comments (showing 1-33 of 33) (33 new)

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Kat Kennedy I'm interested to read what you think about this book!

message 2: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell ....I still think either her spine or her neck look broken.

Eh?Eh! Sheesh! I thought I'd set my options so that the update feed wouldn't show my bookshelf changes - how did you see it so quickly? Is it popping up on your feed? Or were you looking at the book's page and saw me listed in the currently-reading list?

I'm not too far in but it feels like a mashup.

The cover seems to be one of those modified photos? Maybe the model was confused by the directions being screamed at her by the photographer? The picture could've been snapped while she was trying to be a panther and a praying mantis at the same time. It's bad posture. It looks like she should be in a brace or on the operating table to correct it.

Eh?Eh! Argh, nevermind. I just rechecked my account options and see that I'd fiddled with some of the options and forgot about it.

Kat Kennedy LOL - no, Eh! I've been stalking you - watching through your window with my binoculars to see you read it!

Eh?Eh! Stalker! Flag! Curtains!

message 7: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Eh! wrote: "The picture could've been snapped while she was trying to be a panther and a praying mantis at the same time"

//chokes on tea HA!

Eh?Eh! That pose reminds me a little of Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura.

Kat Kennedy Elizabeth wrote: "I don't think the figure is physically impossible, it's just weird. Who thrusts their pelvis forward like that?"

Maybe it's some Victorian method of intimidating other women with her Uterus. Like walking around with it shoved out as much as you can in some strange, posturing method.

Naturally your head is allowed to do some funny angles and shit because a female's head is hardly the most important factor to the average Victorian male.

message 10: by Moira (new) - added it

Moira Russell Kat wrote: "Maybe it's some Victorian method of intimidating other women with her Uterus"

PUSSY POWER!....oh, dear.

message 11: by Kelly (last edited Jul 04, 2010 07:39PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kelly The part about the projection of the reader onto Alexia is spot-on. That's clearly what this book is about- and yeah, a lot of Romance is about that (as you point out). It's just so painfully obvious in this book that sometimes I found it hard to look straight at it without being a little embarrassed! I totally understand it, but... yeah.

Also, OMG, love the part about unbuttoning her dress with her back on the floor. So true! Romance novels are soooo guilty of this- I guess it's all part of the wish fulfillment- awkward body readjustments are banned! Buttons move to conveinent removal positions by power of our sexiness!

Eh?Eh! Thanks! I think I will go walk home in my car and shoot daggers from my eyes at my nightly repast while eating from bone china plates decorated with a delicate tracery of lilac forget-me-nots around the bordering edge. Then I will lie back upon my divan while my shoes and socks miraculously disappear, along with the tiny ivory buttons that line the back of my t-shirt.

I can't contribute to all the discussions on the meaning of Romance but illogical sequences rile me up. :o)

message 13: by Esteban (new)

Esteban del Mal I take umbrage, Eh!

My entire life is a clunky witticism.

message 14: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Hilarious, Eh! I should have persevered with this book, but I just couldn't.

Eh?Eh! So is mine, Esteban. Heavy on the clunky, uneven on the witticisms.

It has its moments, but it's one of many in the wide world of Romance. I don't think you missed anything, Ellen.

Caris You missed someone. :(

Eh?Eh! Caris wrote: "You missed someone. :("

You forgot the tears.

I fixed it!

Caris That looks more like drool.

*goes to investigate*

And god bless you.

Eh?Eh! I thought the frown would change the drool into eyewater. Isn't this drool?

Bless me with what? Be more explicit in your heathen statements.

Caris That's drool, too.

Whatever you want, I guess. How about giant clown shoes?

Eh?Eh! You are incorrect! One is drool, one is eyewater.

Only if I'm also blessed with the feet to fill them. I've been told my toes resemble Vienna sausages, so they'd have to grow into Johnsonville bratwursts.

Hmm. That one gives me a combination "thud" and "ew" feeling.

Caris Uh, yeah. God bless you like that. All sausagey.

message 23: by Lil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lil Bone I found this to be an extremely poorly written review....dude.

Eh?Eh! I think so, too. Uh, bub.

Sparrow Lil wrote: "I found this to be an extremely poorly written review....dude."

I totally need to steal this brilliant prose for a bunch of my reviews, chica! How could such a simple sentence say so much?

Sparrow Indubitably.

message 27: by Paquita Maria (new)

Paquita Maria Sanchez Thanks for taking a giant crap on the floor, lil. I'm sowwy it huwt your feewings that somebody didn't wike your fave-oh-weet book. You need a binky, wittle wil?

Eh?! gets fucking trolls now? Goodreads needs an enema. Go dry your eyes on some gif-heavy reviews of even more mindless tripe, you snotty little shit.

Eh?Eh! Well, I didn't have a very coherent review. Thank goodness my pay grade, self-esteem, and man-harem size isn't tied to the quality of my typed thoughts.

message 29: by Jen (new)

Jen Man harem sizes are never based on that, though. Man harems are based on precise mathematical equations. If I knew them, I would type them here.

Eh?Eh! Hmm, there would probably be variables for bicycle-movement of the legs, globe-ness of the uh globes.

message 31: by Mary (new)

Mary 'I glare at crockery, too" - left me choking on my cereal...too funny! now I'm torn whether to read this, such conflicting reviews!

Eh?Eh! Haha, thanks! Despite my quibbles, I thought it was a fun enough read. Plenty of people did love it so definitely don't take the few linked reviews as being the authority on it. If you do read it, let me know what you think!

message 33: by Allie (new) - added it

Allie I'm more than a little upset with every other line in the beginning being about her father, her lack of a soul or her nose.

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